Football

Ohio State pivot Smith wins Heisman Trophy

Surrounded by his family and coach, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith won the 72nd Heisman Trophy Saturday night in New York.

Surrounded by his family and coach, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith won the 72nd Heisman Trophy Saturday night in New York.

The senior pivot easily won thecoveted trophy over Arkansas sophomore running back Darren McFadden and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

Smith received 801 first-place votes — the second most by a Heisman winner —up by 1,662 points over second-place finisher McFadden. Smith's runaway win makes it the second biggest margin of victory in Heisman history, with only O.J. Simpson's 1,750-point triumph more one-sided.

Quinn was third and West Virginia running back Steve Slaton was fourth.

Smith also received 86.7 per cent of the first-place votes, a record, and his point total of 2,540 places him third behind Simpson (2,853) and fellow Southern California running back Reggie Bush, who had 2,541 last season.

"Normally, I'm pretty cool in pressure situations, but my heart is pounding really fast now," said Smith, who had big hugs for his mother, sister and coach Jim Tressel before taking the podium for his speech.

"I'm at a loss for words.I just can't believe this is happening … It means everything. Just to be here in this situation. I love everybody back home in Columbus."

First since Eddie George

Smith becomes the first Ohio State player to win the Heisman since running back Eddie George claimed U.S. college football's most prestigious award back in 1995.

It was the second consecutive year that only three players were invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

Last season, teammates Bush and Matt Leinart, along with Texas quarterback Vince Young made the trip to the Big Apple.

Smith, who won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best quarterback earlier in the week, was the Big Ten offensive player of the year.

He led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record, throwing for 2,507 yards and a school record 30 touchdown passes against only five interceptions. Smith also led the Big Ten in passing efficiency with a 167.9 rating.

Big game cemented title

Smith, a Heisman favourite virtually from the opening game of the season, cemented his place among past winners with a stellar performance against longtime rivals Michigan Wolverines during the storied game on Nov. 18.

With both teams undefeated and a trip to the national championship game on the line, Smith threw for 316 yards and four touchdown passes, leading the Buckeyes to a thrilling 42-39 win over the Wolverines.

Smith is the first Ohio State quarterback since Tippy Dye (1934-36) to hold three wins over Michigan, amassing 1,151 yards of total offence, seven touchdowns passes while adding another two scores on the ground.

Running in relative obscurity, McFadden broke into the national spotlight after leading the Razorbacks to a shocking 27-10 over the previously unbeaten Auburn Tigers on Oct. 7.

McFadden, who was performing in front of 87,451 raucous fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., scorched the Tigers for 145 yards and a memorable 63-yard touchdown run.

He went on to post seven 100-yard games for the season, including a 219-yard performance against South Carolina on Nov. 4.

McFadden did claim the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back, the first player from the Southeastern Conference to do so since Georgia's Garrison Hearst in 1992.

Quinn passed for 3,278 yards and 35 touchdowns this season to help lead the Fighting Irish (10-2) to the Sugar Bowl against the LSU Tigers in New Orleans Jan. 3.

His signature game of the season occurred on Sept. 23 against the Michigan State Spartans. Trailing 37-21 in the fourth quarter, Quinn drove the Fighting Irish to a pair of touchdowns en route to a 40-37 comeback win.

With files from the Associated Press